by Keisha Ray, PhD and Alyssa Burgart, MD, MA
Although I have been an editor at bioethics.net for 2 years now, I have been a consistent author since 2014, when Craig Klugman, then editor, invited me to be a regular contributor. Craig offered guidance and it is partly because of his efforts I am able to continue as blog editor. I hope to be a good partner to my new co-editor, Dr. Alyssa Burgart, just like Craig was to me. Although Craig will no longer be an editor at the blog, he will be missed, but his work in shaping the blog lives on.
During my time as an author and editor for the blog I have witnessed the meaningful and stellar work of its authors and their contributions to bioethics, medicine, science, research, and education. Because of the work of its editors and contributors, the blog has been able to be a leading voice in bioethics. As my tenure as editor continues, I want to continue to grow the contributions the blog makes to bioethics. Here Alyssa and I want to give you all a brief outline of our vision for the future of the blog, things that we do well, and things we can improve upon in 2021.
The blog has served as a source of information for academics; a way for academics to connect and discuss bioethical issues. It has provided a space for authors to receive feedback on their ideas and a space to create community in our profession. But what I am even more proud of is that we are a source of information for people who do not work in academia or bioethics but who want easy-to-understand information about bioethics and related topics. We intentionally ask authors to make their work accessible to all audiences and we will continue to make this a priority.
Our blogs are also often frequently used in classrooms with all levels of students. Instructors find our blogs useful because they provide concise arguments that different kinds of students can understand and find useful for their education. We do not take our role in educating future leaders lightly so we will continue to make education and expanding knowledge and research at the top of our priority list.
Lastly, it has been our honor to add a more diverse list of authors and a more diverse list of topics. This has been important to me since the day that I became editor, however, we can do better. I will work harder to expand the range of topics we publish and work harder to recruit more authors from different religious, racial, gender, and ability backgrounds. For our blog to be a force for change in bioethics and academia we absolutely must engage in these efforts.
Happy New Year, Readers! I venture to guess you share my relief in entering a new year – a future with uncharted, as yet un-blogged about experiences. Perhaps you also share my simultaneous trepidation, tiptoeing into 2021 looking over my shoulder at a tragic 2020.
It is my privilege and honor to take the reigns from long time Bioethics.net blog editor, Craig Klugman. Craig’s dedication for nearly a decade developed this site as a respected resource for bioethicists, policy makers, journalists, and the public. I followed his prolific blog writing for years, and it’s clear he’s a hard act to follow.
Partnering with co-editor Dr. Keisha Ray promises an exciting adventure for me this year. We will continue to promote high quality, informative, provocative, timely work. We will continue to create and promote innovative ethics resources, like the #BlackBioethics and COVID-19 Toolboxes. We look to further expand the reach of the blog, capitalizing on its prominence to elevate voices throughout the multi-disciplinary field of bioethics. We are especially focused on those with diverse and interesting points of view, those who have been marginalized in ways large and small. As bioethics matures as a field, we must seek out young voices as well as those with more seasoned perspectives.
Somewhere between relief in leaving the 2020 dumpster fire behind, and the (unreasonably) hopeful expectations for 2021, I’m holding space. 2020 was a difficult year for ethicists across the country who have found themselves suddenly seen as exceptionally valuable. We have contemplated and planned for challenges from existential to practical. The last two weeks of 2020 alone left me with meetings on allocation of vaccines, critical care resources, and treatments nearly daily. The weekly onslaught of ethical conundrums since March 2020 has left some of us ragged from worry and exhaustion.
This year promises ongoing challenges as January opens on surging COVID-19 deaths side by side with delays in vaccine distribution. Economic woes continue shine a light on worsening inequity. January brings the risk of mass evictions and unclear economic relief for those still under-employed and underinsured. But it’s not all doom and gloom: we begin 2021 with several effective coronavirus vaccines, calls for racial justice that remain loud, and an American president-elect who is unlikely to push policy via his Twitter feed. Allowing hope to gingerly creep back into our lives is something we need to build back from the destructive wake of 2020.
There is no doubt the field will have much to say in 2021. I cautiously hope that by December 2021, Keisha and I will have some positive reflections when we carry on Craig’s Year in Review tradition.
Who are the voices you hope to hear from in 2021? What challenges or opportunities do you see for ethicists? How will we bear witness? Effect change? Promote justice? We hope you’ll share your thoughts with us as new and returning authors on Bioethics.net.